Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Leukemia, Nature, University of Pennsylvania / 01.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42093" align="alignleft" width="148"]Dr. J Joseph Melenhorst, PhD Director, Product Development & Correlative Sciences laboratories (PDCS) Adjunct Associate Professor Penn Medicine Center for Cellular Immunotherapies University of Pennsylvania Dr. Melenhorst[/caption] Dr. J Joseph Melenhorst, PhD Director, Product Development & Correlative Sciences laboratories (PDCS) Adjunct Associate Professor Penn Medicine Center for Cellular Immunotherapies University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by CLL and CAR T cells?  Response: We started treating patients with a form of blood cancer called CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) using a form of gene therapy wherein we engineer the patient’s own immune cells – T cells – with a tumor targeting molecule: The CAR, which stands for chimeric antigen receptor. When we engineer the patient’s immune cells we use a vehicle, in this case virus, that inserts the payload – the CAR – into the patient’s DNA. The virus disappears, and the CAR stays. Where this CAR inserts itself is unpredictable, but we always get stably engineered cells.